MARTIN DOWEY’S COLUMN: Players set for cracking reunion

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TOMORROW night will be a big night for football fans in the town, as the Crown Spa Hotel hosts a dinner celebrating Scarborough FC’s promotion to the Football League, a feat that happened 25 years ago on Wednesday.

The majority of players, staff and directors from the club at the time are making their way to town for what should be a great gathering.

It isn’t often that you get seasons or games that can affect the whole of a town. In my time as a fan and a reporter, I can remember a few, but the promotion to football’s top tiers has to be the biggest. They even made a record about it, which I still have.

I’m sure that everybody has their memories of the 1986-87 season, for me it was my first season as an avid watcher of football.

I started playing the game a year earlier for Hunmanby Hornets under-10s and during the summer Mexico 86 became the first World Cup I watched without having to sit in a highchair.

It turned out to be my best year in football to date because Scarborough won the GM Vauxhall Conference and Derby County gained promotion as champions from the old second division.

My first-ever trip to a football ground was on September 20 1986, when my dad decided that he would take us to watch Scarborough’s home game at the Athletic Ground against Dagenham, with goals from Tommy Graham and Phil Sellars giving the hosts a 2-1 win.

I didn’t know what to expect, but attending any football ground at that impressionable age was always going to be an eye-opener.

That one-off soon became ritual, as we attended nearly all of Boro’s remaining fixtures, taking our place in wind, rain or sunshine on the Seamer Road bank.

It was the perfect introduction for me because there is nothing to keep interest going like watching a winning team and in that run I think I only saw Scarborough FC lose a couple that season.

Many people must have thought the same, as the attendance went up from 961 at the Dagenham game to a massive 5,640 when the trophy was presented at home to Weymouth on the final day.

When I played football on the park in front of my house I wasn’t pretending to be Gary Lineker, Ian Rush or Bryan Robson, I was Stewart Mell and Cec Podd.

For small outposts like Scarborough, days like these can happen once in a fan’s lifetime. We don’t all hail from footballing hotbeds like Manchester or Liverpool.

So to have the squad back together again is a great opportunity for players and fans to chat about happy old times and to mull over what could be a bright future.

It was a great occasion when they all met up in 2007 at Scarborough’s game against Worksop Town. I’m sure it will be equally as good this time around.